The Chancellor has said his ‘number one priority is to protect jobs and livelihoods’ after laying out plans to help balance the nations finances.
This week, Chancellor, Rishi Sunak delivered the 2020 Spending Review and the Office For Budget Responsibility’s Latest Economic And Fiscal Forecast, announcing a programme of measures to fight coronavirus, deliver on key priorities and invest in the country’s recovery.
As part of the spending review, aiming to to support local public services, as well as boosting jobs, wages and prospects for communities, the Chancellor announced capital spending of £100 billion next year, allowing for vital investment in roads, rail, hospitals, schools, broadband and housing.
Next year, the Department for Health and Social Care’s budget will grow by £6.6 billion, allowing for the delivery of 50,000 more nurses and 50 million more GP appointments as well as increasing capital investment by £2.3 billion to invest in new technologies to modernise patient and staff experience.
Pay rises will also be given to over 1 million nurses, doctors and others working in the NHS, whilst the new 3-year long £2.9 billion Restart programme will provide intensive, tailored support to over 1million unemployed people to help them find work.
In addition, over £3 billion will be provided to local authorities on the frontline to support vulnerable people through coronavirus, along with the creation of a new Levelling Up Fund worth £4 billion, with local areas able to bid directly to fund local projects.
Increasing the fight against climate change, the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs will see their budget increase by £1billion, investing more than £90 million for the Nature for Climate Fund, ensuring £2.4 billion farm support, as well as a £5.2 billion six-year flood and coastal defence programme.
The chancellor also announced the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will invest £14.6 billion in R&D in 2021-22, cementing the UK as a science superpower as well as continuing to support businesses through access finance schemes.
Last week £24 billion was unveiled for British defence over the next four years, the biggest programme of investment since the end of the Cold War, which will include £6.6 billion of R&D to boost research into artificial intelligence, future combat air power and other battle-winning technologies, and create 10,000 jobs annually across the entire United Kingdom.
Trudy Harrison, MP for Copeland, said: “The economic impact of coronavirus has meant there has been a significant increase in borrowing and debt and today’s spending review reflects the challenges faced since the start of the Pandemic, with the Chancellor’s Spending Review tackling this unprecedented situation head on.
“Since the start of the pandemic over 140,000 businesses across the North West have received support through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme and the Bounce Back Loans Scheme worth £5.4 billion, along with 1 million jobs through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. This has only been possible because we came into this crisis with strong public finances.
“I was pleased to see spending commitments to provide pay rises to our incredible nurses, doctors and other key workers in the NHS who have been at the very forefront of the virus, along with a guaranteed pay rise of at least £250 for those earning below £24,000, helping to protect the lowest-paid workers. Increased funding to deliver stronger public services – including in schools, hospitals and our police force is also welcome news, as is a budget increase of £1 billion for DEFRA in the fight against climate change.
“As we all work to balance the nations finance, I was happy to take part in the consultation survey to say that MPs pay should reflect the current state of the nation - making absolutely clear that I do not want a pay rise at all.”
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak MP said: “Today’s Spending Review delivers the priorities of the British people. Our health emergency is not yet over, and the economic emergency has only just begun; so our immediate priority is to protect people’s lives and livelihoods.
“But today’s Spending Review also delivers stronger public services - paying for new hospitals, better schools and safer streets. And it delivers a once-in-a-generation transformation in our approach to infrastructure. Creating jobs, growing the economy, and increasing pride in the places people call home.”